I am proud to say for the third straight year I have had the privilege of organizing eye exams for the students at the Washington Jesuit Academy. If you are not familiar with the school please visit their website by clicking the link above. For those of you who strive for the Jesuit ideal of "Men and Women for Others," you will be truly inspired by a Day at the WJA . The WJA is a school formed under the auspices of the Society of Jesus to provide a quality, tuition-free education for disadvantaged middle school boys from low-income families. They provide a quality education for 11 months a year for 12 hour school days. I am still amazed at how wonderful and polite these students are. Two days before our "Eye Exam Day," I spent some time at the WJA with their school counselor, Ann Clark making sure we had our equipment ready, and that we had tables, extension cords, proper lighting, etc. for the day. I was truly touched to have a few of the boys come up to me and ask me if I was coming on Thursday to do their eye exams. When I said yes, it was great to see such wonderful smiles.
One of our partners for the day are the wonderful ladies from "The Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington ." I saw all of our regular volunteers, including my friends Marcy Babitz, and Barbara Terrace. Their group does the initial screening of the students including visual acuity, and provide a pair of free glasses to all of the boys. I also want to thank Lombart instruments for providing the visual acuity charts, and phoropter stands. My good friend from Lombart has been very helpful the last two years providing support for us. I always enjoy talking some Georgetown Basketball, with my good friend from Lombart, Mike Brown. Few people know that Mike was a former basketball player himself at the University of Massachusetts where he was a teammate of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, and former NBA superstar Julius Erving. I also want to thank my friend Greg Kloth from Marco Ophthalmics for providing us with a brand new autorefractor/non-contact tonometer for the screening and donating a used one to the WJA. I want to thank Drs. Christine King, Kevin King, and Mike Berhenaus for the use of their phoropters. Lastly, I want to thank my fellow colleagues from the Maryland Optometric Association, Drs. Lisa McGinn, John Burns, William Davis, and Charles Mitchell for volunteering and providing quality eye exams for the students. These four colleagues generously gave time out of their offices to make the day a success. This year we definitely had everything running smoothly, and none of the students had to wait as they progressed through the eye exams from the initial history and testing to the dilated fundus exams. Of the 23 students that we examined, we prescribed glasses to 22 of the students. Vision certainly is crucial to learning for these students.
I was truly thrilled to see the WJA's new 65 yard turf football/lacrosse field and new basketball courts. I truly cannot wait to return in a year, and hopefully during the year become more involved in the Washington Jesuit Academy. As Drs. Burns and Davis were new to the WJA, Ann Clark gave us a quick tour including a nice discussion with Mr. Robert Wassman who heads the WJA's reading program. I cannot name everyone but wanted to give a special mention to WJA President Bill Whitaker, and Ann Clark, Director of Counseling Services who I consider wonderful friends. I also want to mention my other friends at the WJA, Dawon Dicks, Merry Cavanaugh, Joe Powers, and Brian Ray. Lastly, I want to thank my friend Theresa DeGioia, the First Lady of Georgetown University for getting me invovled in the WJA. The school has really become a shining example of the Jesuit Ideal, "Men and Women for Others."
Dr. Thomas A. Wong (Georgetown College '82, Georgetown Prep '78)
Georgetown University Board of Governors
Director of Communications Hoya Hoop Club
Proud Member of Generation Ewing